I Keep Forgetting

I keep forgetting 
there's nothing to remember.
Silence, then a thrush.
A fuss of hummingbirds,
a deeper silence.
Clouds dissolving into blue.
Nothing twice.



Painting by Ernst Haeckel

Connection

 

It took me much of a lifetime to realize this. So I share it now to save some time for those who might wrestle with the same issues. If this is not your concern, or if it offends you, just leave it. I share it with love.

When your connection with Being is established, you have no further need for a 'spiritual movement.' Being flows directly into your heart, without any intermediary. No need to go to an ashram. You Are the ashram. With every breath, you flower. From belly to crown, your stem imbibes the sap of the Guru's grace, so there is no need to chase after him anywhere else. You always have the practice, the sadhana, that the Teacher gave you, wherever you go.

Now it becomes crystal clear that the karma of the Teacher is completely different from the karma of the organization established in his or her name. If it's your karma to work for the movement, then let the work unfold. But know that it is not 'higher' than any other work. It's just karma. If it's no longer your karma, respectfully let it go. The greatest service you can give humanity, is not to work for a movement, either spiritual or political, but to radiate Being. Radiate Being from the boundless core of your own heart.

 
Another liberating flower photo by Kristy Thompson

This Is Not A Poem

 

This is not a poem, just a murmur

whose poor thoughts won't reach

the edge of the page.
I just want you to know,

in the first language of scripture
Spirit and Breath are one word.
Wisdom is Sophia, the soul in
your breathing, and if you are awake,

each exhalation is the Holy Spirit,

the sigh of the Creator in creation.

Goddess Shakti is your inhalation,
who birthed the sun in the beginning
when She danced with the deep green shadow.

And though her womb enfolds

the galaxies, She whirls
inside your body, trickles down

your vertebrae, weaving
awareness into flesh.
Call her the dignity

of what flows without trying,

the wind that awakens at sunset.

honey sweating from a comb.

Call her the delight of Ruu,

the Chi who dwells in your vagus nerve
like the flame on a wick.
What are you made of, really?
It is like finespun cotton fiber
instantly consumed by her golden spark.
Your breathing ignites the stars

on invisible strands of pure attention.

Tend her fire in the temple of your lungs

and you will permeate the earth

like fragrance in a flower.

Become her whisper, "B'ishm'illa."
Honor her by listening to bees.
Their humming is the voice
of the Magdalene.

But you will hear her most beautiful name

in the rising and falling of your chest.
Friend, just swim in this river of amazement.

Let it pour down your hollow places
like wine that is saved for the end of the wedding.

How do I know this?

I am breathed.

 

Painting by Marie Laparco

 

Like A Mountain


He became pure consciousness. One who experiences this
merely for a moment is disinterested even in the delights
of heaven. ~Yoga Vashista
Walk like a mountain.
Sit like a cloud.
Rest like a pilgrim
who just now arrives.
Breathe out, O so gently
gazing at creation,
the ancestors, the unborn,
all gods, all bodies,
O so gently
flowering, perishing
on the still mirror
of this moment
just before
you breathe in.
Yes, friend,
your work is amazement.


Photo: Mt. Rainier from a hill near my house.

Knowing Makes You Small



Knowing makes you small. 
Not knowing opens 
all your windows and doors, 
letting the wind blow 
seeds in. 
Some see the Friend
and suddenly pitch 
dirt-works and moats 
of suspicion. 
Those walls are made of 
the mind's chatter. 
But some see an intimate stranger, 
musky with kindness,
pungent as mushrooms,
who visits this planet from a world
deep inside the atom
of sod.
Why not give your breath away
and fall into dazzling silence?
From this moment on,
be breathed by an Other
who is nearer than “I.”
The Sun always floods us
with just enough splendor,
sending a perfect beam
for every bulb.
It all depends on
how ready we are to burst open
and fill the air
with the fragrance of Unknowing.
Listen, friend, this world
is a dry cocoon.
Soon it will crack and shatter,
spilling upward into golden morning
these crinkled rainbows
you've been holding too long
in your chest.
Give up certainty.
Just unfurl.


Watercolor by Marney Ward

 



 


Shabda


Adau Bhagavan shabda rasahi: 'In the beginning the Lord
created the universe through a stream of sound.' ~Vedic text


You know the sound of blood, that drum.

You know the sound of breathing out,

that river of diamonds.

And the sound of your mind
trying to make music out of shattered

mirrors and windows.

But have you heard the sound of Being

as it overflows the rim of the grail?

Not the feeble background hum
of the first moment,
not an echo, nor an idea.
I see you before you were born
floating through a pit, a silent hollow,
tethered by the umbilicus
to what, to whom you cannot know.

But you would like to know, wouldn't you?

So you reach out a warm finger
and swirl it round the singing bowl
of Andromeda, careful not to spill
its bright worlds.

You play the glass harmonium 

of all the galaxies until
the amniotic fluid of the universe

trembles like an unstruck carillon,

utterly inaudible
because it resonates in emptiness.

No, that is not the sound of Being.

You must get down and get born to hear it
gushing like a sudden wound,
tearing the veil of the continuum
in the silence of the void,
a terrible ecstatic cry of
"Kali Ma! O Kali Ma!"
This is the ineluctable chime.
This is the sound of Being,

the breathless kiss of consciousness

upon your own body of stars.


NASA photo, Andromeda galaxy

True Silence


In meditation, silence is Mother. ~Amma Karunamayi
Silence is supreme administrative power. ~Maharishi

The real Virgin Mother is mystical eternal silence.
~Valentinus the Gnostic

I love your silences. They are like mine. ~Anais Ninn


Let us speak of true Silence. No, it is not a negation. Not the silence of suppressed speech, which is no silence at all. Suppressed speech, like repressed thought, is a scream. And the more we repress, the louder our voiceless keening.

Let us tell of the inmost Silence, omnipresent, effective, whether spoken or not. Silence infusing the best words with Truth. Silence in a real mantra, guiding our attention to the hollow in the seed, through Winter root, Spring flower, Autumn leaf.  
In the hymn from chapter two of Epistle to Ephesians are some of the most ancient verses in Christian scripture. They tell us that Christ "emptied himself." The Greek word is "kinosis." When we empty ourselves in prayer, we enter true Silence, the Silence that was there before God said, "Let there be light."

The emptiness that pervades all forms, this silence gushes tears from the spring of joy in the womb of creation. This Silence is the mother of the Word, the mother of poetry, the mother of music.



Painting, Mary Magdalene by Georges de La Tour

Temple of Stars

 
“Purify the temple with that shower
by which the star people of the Milky Way
have come here.” ~Rig Veda, Suktah 49, II, 25

And what if the temple is your body? And what if this breath is that shower which pours all the stars down your spine? Your subtlest exhalation is a ripple on the ocean of cosmic existence. It's infinitesimal tremor touches the rim of the galaxy, bathing all the worlds. Then it returns to you, bearing the intimate music of the distant spheres. No effort is required. In fact, it is not even your breath, but a breath of the Goddess. All that is required is a little awareness. This most perfect and powerful spiritual practice was given to you just before birth by the first guru, your mother.

Photo by Joy M. Ibizarose

 

Words by A.K. LaMotte, collage by Rashani Réa

You Are The Wine

 

You are the wine

that cannot return

to the grape.
Some ferment has turned you
wild.

Thousands have been crushed

for the sake of this breath,

bouquet of oak and rose,

cinnamon and musk,

Spring rain on withered hay.

The tree of the Vedas,

the whole vine of knowledge

entangled in the hollow

of a tiny seed,

the place your forehead goes

when you bow.

Astronomy and silence,

wisdom and tipsiness,

what's the difference?

Just say thank you

and savor yourself.

 
 
 
Art by William Adolphe Bouguereau

I Don't Need To Hear Your Story


I don't need to hear your story. I will listen of course, just to be kind, but I'm pretty sure I've already heard it. Our "personal" myths are not as unique as we think. Most of them are versions of the same old story, the most popular one in the world: My Tale Of Woe.

The universe doesn't need to hear your story either, but the universe will echo it back to you if you insist. Because the universe is an echo-chamber. That's its job. Like an efficient post office, the universe will return to sender, and you will live your story again and again.
But if you're fortunate, you will get tired of your story. You will wake up and realize it never turns out any differently, no matter how often you tell it. And if you're very fortunate, you'll meet someone who will say, "shut up!" They will say it in a gentler way of course, with the mere power of Presence, and you will stop story telling. You will become hopeless.

In true compassion, the Listener will offer you something more profound than any tale of woe: the silence of pure Being. You will let this silence penetrate your body, permeating every nerve, overflowing the nucleus of each cell.

To give up your story is to give up hope. Hopeless surrender will alchemize your ancient pain much better than telling a story about it. Hopeless surrender will dissolve your pain into vibrant available energy, the energy of awareness.

But alchemy requires the dark. Alchemy happens not in the light of wishful thoughts and prayers, not in the repetition of cheery affirmations, but in the abyss. It happens not above but below, not beyond, but deep inside the fibrous warp and woof of your flesh.

Here you transcend, not out there but here in the untamed root, at the subnuclear quantum level of holy matter, in the black hole at the core of every atom. You will touch pure Being, not in the mind but at a cellular level.

Darkness is not the opposite of light, but the womb of light. The light of joy is born not as a story, not as a memory or an image in the mind, but as an electrical power in your bones, in your marrow, when awareness burns through trauma, and transmutes it.

Now you are alive without a story. The whole cosmos rushes in to fill the vacuum where hope used to be, where time used to be, where your tale of woe used to be. You can't explain anything anymore, thank God. There is nothing to complain about. Each instant is an inundation of wonder, a feral explosion of softness, a catastrophic dissolution where nothing remains but love.

Intention


 

Think softly,

               more softly,

     "Abundance,"

          "Peace,"

     "Compassion,"

until your breath dissolves 

          in the hollow heart

that has two chambers,

          one for "I"

    and one for "Thou,"

one for dawn and one

             for evening.

    A tenderness

at the threshold of creation,

     between silence

          and the Word,

between stillness

      and trembling.

Dew forms

        on the rose's mouth

    just before sunrise.

         I am trying to describe

the way your stem feels

     when a blue moth settles

          on the jasmine petal.

The tremor of the thread

               in your spine

         when you remember

     that the sky has kissed

        your brown body

 every moment since birth.

     The place where all

               the laws of nature

(who are really gods and devas)

     entangle in your peritoneum

               so goldenly their 

gentleness becomes 

     indomitable power.

          Think softly,

     more softly.

               Listen.

They murmur with

     a single voice,

               and so it is.



Watercolor by Marney Ward

Become A Leaf

 
The world out there will only make you
famous and miserable.
It is the husk.
You are the golden nectar inside.
To ferment the sweetness in your silent core,
humble yourself through serving.
Do anything kind.
Become a leaf, kiss the sidewalk.
If someone with even an ember in their gaze
holds out the palm of true wanting,
give them the weightless stars.
Even better, teach them how
loss becomes healing.
At least for this moment,
remember to ache and yearn.
Whatever the question was,
the answer is to permeate the earth
with your Being.
You are a stone in the meadow
glistening and fissured with quartz,
a nurse-log full of seedlings
caressed by the Winter moon,
a chrysalis on the ash twig
throbbing in the absence of a leaf.
Your faith is green.
Your marrow is fire.
Feel every atom as a tumult of patience
awaiting the breath of the midnight Goddess
who comes
to brush her silken fur 
against your breastbone.
All I have ever wanted to share with you
is this sensation, this kiss
pressed on the luminous body
inside your body of shadows,
the tremor of Unknowing
that is your soul.
 


Painting by Susan Seddon Boulet

Night Meditation


Just before you fall
asleep tonight
perform sanyama
on my smile.
Glance only
for an instant
at love's ancient face
in the mirror of your heart
and I will fill your body
with the laughter
of the silent stars.
Long for me ever
so lightly,
then let me disappear,
a ripple in the moon
on a forest pond.
Drop my name like
a pebble in the pool
of your aloneness.
Here.
Where Breath goes
to fold her wings.
Turn this elegant mud
into a flower,
oblivion into a kiss.
Then forget, forget.
This too is sacred practice.
When you hear
the tender calling
of the midnight owl
and gaze into the dark
within, beyond
the glittering houses,
the constellations of time,
I will be there.
I will be there
and you will almost
but not quite
remember.


*Sanyama: a subtle practice described by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. At the most refined level of thought, on the threshold of the uncreated, drop a seed of intention into that fructifying silence, and let it go. In its very abandonment, you give the intention tremendous creative power.




Mari


Wandering images seen in a glass
tell an eternal and marvelous tale.
yet I am the mirror in which they pass.
Keeper of emptiness, I am the grail.

The goddess Mari, a form of Isis, was continuously worshiped for over three thousand years in the Mediterranean world and Near East, from 3500 - 500 BCE. Her name and her archetype survive as Mary, Mother of God, and Mary Magdalene, mystical Bride of Christ. She holds the holy chalice, yet the true chalice is the womb of Divine Darkness, where all gods are born, and from whose uncreated void all worlds arise. Here is an article on the majesty of her emptiness by an astrophysicist - LINK.

Hridayam: Space of the Heart

Resting the mind in the heart is the beginning and end of the spiritual journey. We meet here, where all our pronouns dissolve into 'Thou.' At first the heart seems just a beating pump, a jug of blood. But as we rest the mind here, a golden wholeness enfolds the body-mind. The heart space pulses with the gentlest breath, soft yet ineffably powerful, permeated by the sound of the primordial mantra, and imbued with the name of the Beloved like an unstruck gong. Now the heart is an ever-expanding energy-field that melts separate minds in friendship, heals sickness in each cell of our flesh, dissolving stress in every nerve. This glow outshines our form, for the heart is no longer in the body, the body is in the heart. Hridaya, self-luminous like the sun, beaming compassion through all time and space, comforting our ancestors for seven generations past and to come, threading every atom to a star, entangling galaxies in the wonder-woven garment of God's infinite light. Why not bathe your home, your neighborhood, these meadows and hills, and this entire planet in the radiance of your heart? I'm pretty sure this is why you are here.



Photo by my dear friend Kristy Thompson


Gate Gate


Gaté Gaté Pará Gaté Parasám Gaté Bodhi Svahá:
'Gone, Gone, Gone Beyond, Gone Beyond Beyond, Hail the Go-er!'
~Buddhist Mantra of the Great Liberation
 
Spent thousands for enlightenment at the Ashram of Tantric Wine Tasting. Advanced flow-yoga at a seaside resort in Bali. Mantra to make me smile. Then, at Saturday's workshop, a Spiritual Teacher taught me: there is no teaching and nobody to teach it. The $1200 course fee included a complimentary green smoothie. I told my bank to cancel the check and wrote the Teacher this note: "Since there was nothing to learn at your workshop and Nobody was the teacher, I am paying nothing for what I received. Thank you."
 
I must be getting lazy. Lost my longing for exotic spiritual destinations. Just want to wander in the woods now, beyond my dilapidated fence, listening to raindrops on ferns, no dakinis sculpted on the walls of my mind cave, no Tibetan runes on the limestone cavern of my emptiness. And please, no more vanilla dharma talks by some guy named Levine who calls himself Ananda now.
 
I must be getting old. Just want to sing about the vastness of what I don't know. Want to open my eye - not the eye in my forehead but the eye in my sole, pressing dark loam with a barefoot kiss. From where I stand on the slow turning earth, I can see that this wheel rolls nowhere. "Here" is already "there." Let me just walk more gently over the planet, sighing without words, and call it prayer.
 
I only became thankful when I stopped turning gratitude into a practice. Gratitude is the intimacy of this breath. Gratitude is the grace of what already is. And grace has no past.
 
I honor the moss-bearded cedars. They are very great gurus, who give their priceless teaching for free: a mist-green stillness. The roots of their lineage truffle downward into the first moment of creation, entangled in the fungi of the void, close to the fountain of bewilderment that gushes up from the center of every Now. Listen, friend, a teacher fills you, a Guru empties you. A teacher transmits knowledge, a Guru wakes up the knower. A teacher bestows information, a Guru bestows wonder. The mind thirsts for certainty, the heart yearns for breaking. If the yearning is intense enough, the Guru could be a cricket. 
 
If you still need some rules to follow, friend, follow these: taste the nectar of this breath. Bow down to your father's enemy and kiss the ground. Vow to be healed by the very next stranger. Walk softly over the earth, sipping from the barrel of foolishness. Pulverize diamonds with your whirling...
 
Now I hear the chthonic incantation of Her who meant to ululate the color green, but accidentally sang the stars. It's midnight. Soundless owl wings slice through the glory of darkness, bright knives of Un-knowing. Moonlight seeps out of my wound, and I am thrice awakened - here, there, and in the gut of every earthworm. Parasám Gaté, beyond the beyond, right where I am. Coyote howl will be my song. 
 


Photo: Took this at the Carbon River Rain Forest, Mt. Rainier